A transition from fossil fuels to mitigate the impacts of climate change will require large amounts of metals and rare earth elements that could create environmental challenges, the World Bank has warned. Technologies needed to meet the Paris climate agreement from wind, solar, and electricity systems are “more material-intensive” than our current fossil-fuel supply systems, a report by the bank said. The mining or extraction of metals and rare earth elements could create environmental problems in terms of energy, water and land use, the report said. “If not properly managed minerals [to combat] climate change could constitute a bottleneck vis-a-vis our policies on global warming,” Riccardo Puliti, global head of the energy and extractives practice group at the World Bank, told the Financial Times. Metals demand could double due to growth in wind turbines and solar panels and there could be a more than 1,000 per cent increase in lithium demand for batteries, the bank said. Little attention has been paid to the environmental challenges of meeting a rapid deployment of batteries for electric vehicles and storage of intermittent renewable energy to meet the Paris accord to limit global temperature rises to 2C this century.
FT 18th July 2017 read more »